Valspar posts third-quarter gains
Minneapolis-based Valspar Corp., makers of paint, reported third-quarter sales of $1.08 billion, up 1% from the same quarter last year.
“We were pleased with our performance in the quarter,” said Gary Hendrickson, chairman and CEO. “Excluding negative currency impact, our revenue increased 3% and our strong earnings growth is the outcome of excellent execution in a challenging global environment.”
Net income for the third quarter of 2012 was $86.4 million, up 28.1% from $67.4 million in the third quarter of 2011.
“Looking ahead to our fourth quarter, we expect continued softness in some international markets and modest growth in North America,” Hendrickson said.
Provider networks, premiums drive health plan choices
When given a choice, most Americans with traditional health coverage say they chose that option because it offered a good network of providers, according to research findings by the not-for-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).
In contrast, among those with high-deductible consumer-driven health plans, most cited the lower premiums and opportunity to save money in a health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).
While close to half of all private-sector workers who have health insurance are offered a choice of health plans, most of those with a choice work for large firms, according to the report, Health Plan Choice: Findings from the 2011 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey, published in the July 2012 issue of EBRI Notes.
“Most Americans get their health insurance coverage from employment-based plans, yet most employers do not offer a choice of health plans,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program and author of the report. “Health plan choices are likely to expand via the expansion of insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, so it’s important to know how people make their decisions when they do have a choice.”
Among the report’s key findings:
• Half of consumer-driven health plan enrollees reported that they chose that offering because of the lower premium, while 45% reported that the opportunity to save money in the account for future years was a primary reason.
• Among individuals with traditional health coverage, 39% cited the good network of providers and 32% reported the low out-of-pocket costs as the main reasons for enrolling in the plan.
There was no difference in satisfaction with ease of getting an appointment with a doctor or choice of doctors between those enrolled in a consumer-directed health plan and traditional plan enrollees. However, enrollees in a high-deductible health plan without a spending account were less likely than traditional plan enrollees to be extremely or very satisfied in these areas.
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Craig’s list: hot sellers at Home Depot
Home Depot’s top merchant spelled out the category gainers during the company’s second-quarter earnings call.
The Atlanta-based home improvement giant yesterday posted strong earnings for the quarter. Executive VP merchandising Craig Menear pointed to three main drivers: “First the core of the store delivered in-line with expectations. Second, record setting warm weather in February and March pulled forward activity that otherwise would have occurred in the second quarter. And, third, we lapped the impact of significant roofing repairs made in the same period a year ago.”
On Menear’s list of departments that outperformed the company’s average comp were decor, lumber, kitchens, paint, electrical, tools, bath, flooring and plumbing.
Double-digit positive compass came from spray paint, laminate flooring and area rugs, he said. “Customers continue to spend on simple decor updates for their home.”
Not everything sold well. The company’s garden business was slightly negative, he said, hurt by drought-like conditions in parts of the country. Also down were comp sales in building materials, “due to tough year-over-year comparisons in roofing,” he said.
Looking ahead, Menear pointed to product upgrades in the works for Home Depot’s Husky brand, including new Husky tool storage solutions. Home Depot is also looking ahead to becoming the exclusive home improvement launch partner for the new Delta brand toilets.
The company will reveal 16 new SKUs of Foundations-branded Delta faucets, “a brand that resonates with our pro customer,” said Menear.